Tuesday, January 17, 2006

fire and ice

We don't get much snow in Tennessee anymore, but when I was little I remember some really big ones. Well, tonight is the first snow of the year. It is an extremely wet and sloppy one so it probably won't be much to play in for the kids. But I wouldn't place bets on school being in session tomorrow. Here, if snow is even predicted, school lets out. It isn't that we don't know how to handle snow (for all your northerners who might sneer at that fact), but who could blame us for not being able to. We may see 2 inches all year, and probably not all at once. In reality it is because of the ICE that we so often get underneath whatever snow we get. Not to mention the fact that wet snows ARE harder to drive in than dryer ones. Besides, WE don't have snow tires and chains to put on OUR cars. It would be a waste of time and money to buy them and we would just be getting them on and have to turn around and take them off. So to our credit, it really is harder to deal with down here.

Before this winter, we had the gas logs removed from our fireplace so we could burn wood. With the cost of gas going up, we thought it would be cheaper. The gas logs we had didn't really heat and they were very expensive to use. We hardly ever used them for those reasons. We have had fires this year, every time the temperature gets below 45. If smell is the sense that is the strongest memory trigger, it has been well put to use. But let me tell you, sight is a pretty strong trigger too!

I grew up in this house. A fire in the fireplace is just as much a part of winter to me as Christmas and the hope of snow. The first fire we had, the moment I smelled that wood smoke, all those memoried came rushing back to me. Christmas, cracking nuts and tossing the hulls into the fire, wondering how Santa would get down the chimney, the smell of smoke drifting on the cold winter wind, wet mittens and socks hanging all around the mantle to dry after a romp in the snow, hot chocolate and snow cream...! I could go on and on. The funny thing is, that the one thing that I never dreamed would come to mind as I stared, mesmerized into the flames, is that I keep remembering Roger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella! Not the Disney one, but the one that used to come on TV every year around Christmas time back in the early 70's. Where did that come from?!?! I hadn't thought about that show in eons and here I was wishing for it so bad it was like a bad chocolate craving. Well, guess what. With the snow outside, it was just too much to bear. Tonight I finally broke down and ordered it.

So here's to memories, WHATEVER they may be, and to the fire and ice in your life that brings them to mind. ;-)